Deep Thoughts

In season four of the 1990’s television drama The X-Files, there is a scene where one of the villains is meeting with his subordinates. Staff members are asking their boss how they should rig things like Hollywood award shows and sports events. The boss says that he will not allow the Buffalo Bills to win a Super Bowl and one of the staffers questions if that is possible. Another staffer then explains how the boss was able to rig the 1980 Olympic hockey tournament.

The villain is a famous character from the show called Cancer Man or the Smoking Man, because he is a chain smoker. No one seems to know his real name. He just seems to be a guy who is at the heart of every conspiracy and coverup, one step ahead of everyone, especially the protagonists. He appears to work for the government, but he also represents the interests of a shadowy group of old white men who may or may not control the governments of the world.

That is what makes that scene memorable. To that point the show was a little dodgy about the nature of the various conspiracies. Most of the time the protagonists are racing to expose a coverup by the government. At other times, it appears they are being manipulated by some shady actors using their investigations as a way to coverup some more sinister plot. In that scene we see that the deep state literally controls the things we take for granted, like sporting events.

The X-Files franchise was a huge success because people like to think that their world is controlled by someone. This is a feature of the human condition. Early man thought the sprits that animated the natural world altered the behavior of man. The ancients thought the gods manipulated the affairs of man. Of course, Christianity starts with the assumption that God created a rational world and he intervenes from time to time to nudge man in a certain direction.

This is why the intelligent design concept is popular. For most people, the idea of a chaotic, purposeless world is upsetting. Even though the basics of intelligent design contradict the fundamentals of Christianity, many Christians would rather believe God is endlessly tinkering with his creation than accept evolution. Even though evolution fits in with the concept of maker’s knowledge and the perfection of God, people struggle with the seeming randomness of the natural world.

This also explains the appeal of the deep state. It is possible that the raid on Trump’s villa was carried out by bit players exploiting an opportunity. A regional FBI officer saw a chance to make a name for himself, got a nutty judge to sign off on the search warrant and now we have a scandal. This is a very unsatisfying explanation for most people, so they reach for the deep state as an answer. This raid is part of some plot run by shady characters who will never let Buffalo win a title.

None of this is to suggest that there are no conspiracies. A central feature of human nature is cooperation, which is another way of saying that it is the nature of man to plot with other men. Politics is defined by the plots hatched and executed by factions within the political system. Court intrigue has been with us since the first man was named the leader of his people. Often, these plots take on a life of their own. The original plot gets away from the plotters and becomes a scandal.

The Russian collusion hoax is a good example. We now know the idea was hatched by Clinton operatives as a political dirty trick. They made up some phony evidence showing Trump was in league with Putin. Then they fed it to the media and the FBI in order to force it into the general conversation. The paranoid bigots of the far-left then turned it into something the JFK conspiracy. The grifter-right then turned that into a moneymaking scheme blaming the deep state.

The Russian collusion hoax is a good entry point in understanding the appeal of the deep state concept. Most of the people who hated Trump could not tell you why they hated him so much. The deep state concept filled that whole. Trump was in league with those dark forces that manipulate the world. On the other hand, Trump supporters could rely on the deep state to explain why the system attacked Trump. Both sides of the Trump story could sense the Cancer Man in the room.

John Derbyshire famously said, “The ordinary modes of human thinking are magical, religious, social, and personal. We want our wishes to come true; we want the universe to care about us; we want the approval of those around us; we want to get even with that s.o.b. who insulted us at the last tribal council. For most people, wanting to know the cold truth about the world is way, way down the list.” From that it should be easy to see why the deep state is a popular villain.

Another reason people like the idea of secret actors controlling events is that it is easier to hate a person than a process. Anyone who has worked with big complex systems knows the frustration of not having someone to blame. The people are all doing the right thing, both morally and technically, yet the results are wrong. There is no one to blame but the system and the system is the result of all of those correct and well-intended actions by the people involved.

Blaming the system for American decline is too much for most people. They were raised to worship the idea of America. Blaming the system for why things are getting progressively worse is like burning the flag. It is a lot easier to blame some corrupting forces that are manipulating events. The same phenomenon set in with the Soviet Union after Stalin. Blaming bad actors operating in the shadows of the party was safer than questioning the system.

The deep state is why popular government is a terrible idea. In popular government, in theory at least, policy reflects the popular will. Therefore, bad results must be the fault of the people. How can this be possible when most people never wanted the bad result? It must be something else. Whether communism, socialism or liberal democracy, the people can never blame themselves, so they will find someone to blame, even if they have to invent him.

In personal rule, everyone knows who to blame. If gas prices go up, the people go down to the ruler’s house and demand he lower gas prices. There is no deep state in personal rule as there is no need for one. The motivations behind public policy are real and easily assigned to the people in charge. Popular government needs a deep state onto which the sorrows of the people can be cast. Otherwise, they will figure out who is responsible and abandon the system in favor of personal rule.

From a dissident perspective, the deep state concept is mostly useful as it is a vehicle for normal people to the land of doubt. The millions of Trump supporters who think their man is the victim of the deep state are losing faith in the system. The reckless shenanigans of mostly midlevel players make others wonder if there really is a secret cabal manipulating things. The deep state may simply be a sign that the system is in severe decline and nearing collapse.


If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


Plot Twists

The French and Russian revolutions are probably the two most important events in contemporary Western history. They have been studied from every angle, but they continue to be studied by scholars. One reason for the enduring interest is these events still cast a shadow over the present. The constructs that arose from the French Revolution are still with us. The great divide between East and West as a result of the Bolshevik Revolution still haunts the world.

Another reason for keeping these two great revolutions in the front of the mind is they are examples of how a ruling elite can bring about its own demise. The violent end of the regime was made inevitable by regime actions. The French king could have plotted a different course, but he made every mistake available to him. The Tsar was in a much more difficult position, but he had plenty of warnings about what was coming and he could have prepared accordingly.

These two revolutions are as much about ruling elite error as the social and political movements we associate with them. If the French king had been a bit more prudent it is possible the revolution would not have happened at all. If there were betting odds on such things, regicide would have been the longest of long shots on the board prior to the start of unrest. Most of the people pushing for change prior to Lenin seizing power were hoping the Tsar would help with the process.

The compelling feature of these events is that the major players seemed blind to that which should have been obvious. The forces of change and the defenders of the status quo operated like two black boxes. Neither side could see inside the other, so they were left to guess about the motivations behind the observed actions. Inevitably, they assigned the worst motives to the other side. Killing the sovereign, thereby killing the system he represented, was easy when he was seen as evil.

We seem to be seeing the same dynamic form up in present day America as the ruling class operates by motives that baffle those outside. The raid on former president Trump by the FBI is the latest event without an obvious explanation. A feature proudly celebrated by the American political class for a long time is that Americans do not criminalize politics like other countries. The losers of elections are not jailed and former officer holders are not persecuted.

For two years the political class has been waging a war against the former president and his supporters for reasons that continue to baffle. There must be a reason as there is a reason for everything, but no logical reasons make sense. Again, we look at our political class and see a black box at the center of their actions. It is what motivates them but what is going on inside is a mystery. As a result, we are left to speculate as to their motivations and that always leads to dark motives.

Like the ruling elites in the two great revolutions, this ruling elite seems to be obsessed with finding the worst option. The right answer in the aftermath of the 2020 election was for Washington to be reminded of Jefferson’s timeless question. “And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?” The right response was “to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them.”

Instead, we have pogroms. This raid on Trump’s home not only raises questions about the motives of the administration, but it colors the January 6 events. An organized war by the deep state against reformers is a narrative that explains both the persecution of the protestors and the attacks on the former president. Even for those highly skeptical of the “deep state” narrative will start to come around. It also helps explain side events like the attacks on Alex Jones and Nick Fuentes.

In those prior revolutions, a logic took over that naturally led to the conclusion that the system was the problem. It was not just the polices that emanated from the system, but the system itself that was the problem. In Russia and France, the man at the top was the personification of the system. A point was reached where anything the king said or did was viewed through this logic. The trust between the people and their sovereign was irrevocably broken and the end became inevitable.

One strange difference between the current age and those revolutionary ages is the roles are reversed. In 18th century France, it was the people at the top defending the old order and the people challenging it. The same was true in Russia. In America, the people at the top see themselves as the revolutionaries and the people view themselves as the defenders of the old order. A big part of this crisis is the ruling class mocking the history and tradition of the people.

What makes it even more bizarre is that if the ruling class is successful in discrediting the old system, the people will no longer have restraint. It is the lingering trust in the system, the desire to vote harder, that prevents January 6th from spreading to every state capital in the country. These efforts by the ruling class to burn it all down can only lead to one end for them. The FBI raiding Trump’s house convinced a lot of people that the system is now too far gone to save with an election.

It is a good example of how history can be a guide, but the parallels are never perfect, so we are left to feel our way through things. Lenin knew his history, which is why he quickly had the Tsar and his family murdered. He knew where his revolution should end so he moved quickly to the closing scenes. On the other hand, despite their study of history, none of the Bolsheviks saw Stalin and his terror coming. Even when you know the script, it is sometimes hard to accept the plot.

Perhaps that is what is happening in the black box at the center of the Cloud People society that seems to control their actions. Perhaps inside it they are feverishly hoping to write a new ending to an old story. Their actions, however, are the main plot device of that old story. The harder they work to create a new narrative, the more their actions seem to confirm the oldest of narratives. The great plot twist they think they are fashioning is that there is no plot twist to their story.


If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


A Question Of Authority

Notes: The Monday Taki post is up. It is a different take on the attack by Theodore Ruger on Professor Wax. Sunday Thoughts is a shallow dive into the cult of neoconservatism using some of their recent posts. SubscribeStar users can find it here and Substack users can find it here.


One of the great problems Enlightenment thinkers tried to solve is why it is that human beings live in ordered societies. Further, why are some people in charge of those societies and others subject to the will of those people. What explains this and more important, what is the correct system of organization? The recently rediscovered Greeks offered some insights. Scripture offered understanding of man’s nature but offered little to explain social hierarchy.

It is fair to say that Western intellectual life has been dominated by the search for the right answer as to how best to organize society. The utilitarian school gave us the claim that the goal of any social policy it to maximize total happiness. The Marxists gave us the argument that the goal of social policy is reducing exploitation. By exploitation they meant compulsion. Social contract theory gave us the general will, the idea that policy should be supported by the majority of the people.

The modern age fumbles around looking for a new answer to the great questions, having decided that the prior answers are not quite right. Restorative justice borrows a bit from all three schools. It starts with the assumption that everyone should benefit equally from society. This is an assumption that is never justified or even explained, but simply assumed as an axiom of the universe. It is the motivation to act and the authority to do just about anything to restore equal outcomes.

The main question at the center of it all is authority. No matter how sensible your new system of social order, there has to be a reason it should be preferred by or enforced upon those who disagree. Marx recognized this which is why he invented the idea of super-abundance to get around the issue. In a society in which everyone gets what they need to live, there is no need to compel anyone. According to Marx, it is scarcity that leads to exploitation.

Marx was not the first person to use sleight of hand to get around the central problem of authority in social organization. Locke and Hobbes conjured from nothing the idea of a state of nature, a mythological pre-social existence. Even Rousseau, who criticized the concept, had to fall back on it to justify his thinking. Of course, the foundation of Western democracy is the purely hypothetical concept of the social contract, which has been handed down to us by the Greeks.

This search for an answer to “by what authority?” haunts the modern ruling class, which is why they have evolved certain chants to wave away the question. Whenever they use the phrase “our democracy” they may as well be saying “by the divide right of kings” or “because the gods command it.” It is intellectual base stealing. In the name of democracy, they assume power over the rest of us and the right to use that power to achieve whatever ends they think appropriate.

The same is true of the “right side of history.” Instead of appealing to Scripture, which would create obvious problems, they appeal to a great mystery force that can be defined to meet the task at hand. The speaker is on the right side of history, so he is empowered to clear the road. Those on the wrong side of history are in the way of history so they lack all authority. Like the other abracadabra phrases popular with the ruling class, this just means “because I say so.”

This search for justification turns up in the heresy accusations leveled against Professor Amy Wax by Theodore Ruger. His bill of indictment is a blend of assumptions and vague claims about vague school policies. He holds up statements made by Professor Wax as examples of her violating school policy, but never bothers to explain how or why they violate the policy. Occasionally he asserts that something she said is in dispute, but most things are in dispute.

This line from Ruger’s letter is an example of intellectual base stealing. “[Professor Wax] public commentary espousing derogatory and hateful stereotypes has led students to reasonably conclude that she is unable to evaluate them fairly based on their individualized merit.” He then lists some examples of students who claimed to be vexed by Professor Wax. Because he can find someone who agrees with his claim, it is by force of magic a reasonable claim.

This is the sort of logic that was never tolerated by undergraduates at elite universities like the University of Pennsylvania. If Professor Wax is maintaining a hostile classroom, then some students will question her objectivity. This is true if the word “hostile” is assumed to mean heretical and “some students” is assumed to mean those who are not biological males of European ethnicity. Therefore, if a nonwhite or female gets upset, it must mean they are in a hostile environment.

It should not have to be said, but this is a classic logical fallacy that used to be taught in American middle-schools. If A always leads to B, it does not follow that the existence of B means the existence of A. There can be many causes for B. In this case, the emotionally disturbed students cited in the letter could be vexed by any number of things, including the preaching of people like Mr. Ruger. Keep telling young people that the devil is always at their elbow and they will believe it.

Strip away all of the primitive claims in that letter and you are left with an assumption that the good people, like Mr. Ruger, are here to protect the sacred people, like the nonwhite students he cites. This is the answer to the great question that has haunted the West for centuries, by what authority? The vast diverse class of people we call the managerial elite exist to shepherd the vulnerable, who they have defined as anyone who is not a biological male of European origin.

Because there is no external source of authority for these claims, anyone who challenges the claim is branded a heretic. That is what you see in that letter and in all of the hysterics that have come to dominate the age. The worship of nonwhites and the efforts to protect them have no basis in reality. Note that Ruger avoids challenging Wax on the facts. Her statements are not factually wrong, but morally wrong even though the underlying moral claims have no authority.

Like a parent tired of answering the series of why questions from their child, the managerial elite are increasingly frustrated and angry because they have no answer the question of why. Why is it wrong to point out that intelligence is not distributed equally between people or groups? What is the authority for declaring these observations of fact immoral? More important, why are these people going to such lengths to mask observable reality?

Fundamentally, the crisis of this age is one of authority. The feudal system could point to tradition and the family. The king was like the father and his people were like the family, where the father had the last word. Man’s relationship to God as described in Scripture was imperfectly recreated in politics. Just as man ultimately answers to God, subjects ultimately answered to the king. This is the answer to the question at the heart of the social order, by what authority?

This age has no answer to the great question. Why are these people in these positions and why are they imposing these novel moral codes? What justifies their claim that noticing things about people is immoral? Who decided this and by what system did they decide it? Because there are no answers to these questions, the only solution is to silence anyone who raises them. To tolerate dissent puts into question the authority of the managerial system, which has no natural authority.


If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


The Grim Future

Note: The Monday Taki post is up. Not entirely related to this post, but the general theme is the same. Sunday Thoughts is up behind the green door. There is the SubscribeStar version and the Substack version.


Futurism was a social movement that started in the beginning of the last century in Italy and spread around the West in the first decades of the century. The futurists were not content with improvements to everyday life. They imagine a new world brought about the rapid advance of technology. The material advances of the industrial revolution would not just improve our daily lives. They believed the entirety of human society would be reimagined along technological lines.

The Futurists were not entirely wrong. The industrial revolution did usher in a mass reorganization of human society. Trains were not just faster than horses. They changed how we thought about moving people and goods. Wired and wireless communication added an immediacy to society. People were no longer finding out what happened after the fact but following what was happening as it happened. The old culture collapsed and a new culture arose in the 20th century.

A simple mental exercise makes this clear. A man living in 1750 America would have had no trouble navigating 1850 America. Sure, trains would be new to him and industry would be advanced. Otherwise, people lived pretty much the same. Now, take 1850 man and transport him to 1950. He would find himself in a world that was not just materially different, but culturally and spiritually alien. He was not in an improved version of his country. He was in a different world.

The futurists believed that technological progress would lead to human progress and by that they meant freedom from the human condition. The future would be slick, fast and exiting, as humanity explored its potential. One result of this was a rejection of the past, especially tradition. The futurists saw the past as a set of hands grasping at humanity from the grave. Another result is they believed violence was entirely appropriate to break the grip of the past in order to usher in the future.

The futurists were not entirely wrong. The two great industrial wars of the 20th century obliterated the old world. Into the void flowed what came to be known as the post industrial world. The West was not capitalist or socialist in the Marxist sense, but something of a fusion of the two. On the other hand, the human condition was not consigned to the dustbin of history. All of the old problems remained. The West simply had better stuff than in the prior ages.

Fast forward to this age and we have a new round of futurism. You can probably start the clock with Alvin Toffler, a futurist who got famous at the beginning of the microprocessor revolution. His books sold millions of copies and focused on society after de-industrialization. His books were popular in America at a time when the economy was shedding industrial jobs. His vision of the future promised something better than the old grimy industrial lifestyle.

Even though his books sold millions of copies, futurism did not catch on with the beautiful people until the late 1990’s. When technology became accessible to the technologically challenged, the future suddenly opened up to them. Apple products were sold to taste makers as a symbol of the progressive vision. Big tech began to market itself as a lifestyle, rather than as technological advance. Elon Musk went from bald PayPal investor to a futurist with a firm hairline.

The reason operations like the World Economic Forum have become popular with the beautiful people is these organizations are catering to the people who have tied their sense of self with their vision of the future. WEF has been around for a long time, but it was mostly a dull economic conference until they hit on futurism. You see it in this old presentation from a person named Thomas Birr. This is a timeshare pitch tailored for a crowd that believes they are world historic figures.

It should be noted that Mr. Birr promotes himself as a futurist. He labels himself the Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer at a company named E. On. Before that he was Senior Vice President Innovation & Business Transformation at a company with an equally ridiculous name. Mr. Birr is a visionary and we know that because he is paid to have visions, like a shaman. Before he was a visionary, he was an industrial sales rep who worked in the energy business.

One of the appeals of futurism is that it allows the futurist to look away from the present and focus on a blank page onto which he can draw his new world. It is a form of escapism, which suggests futurism is the product of crisis. The futurists of the last century did not see the two great industrial wars coming. In retrospect, the obliteration of the old war was a necessary step toward the new world. Interestingly, the Italian futurists all wound up supporting fascism.

There is a bit of irony. The futurist of this day invests a lot of time looking for potential fascists out among the Dirt People. Yet, it can be argued that fascism would not have been possible without the futurism movement. Once the focus shifted from the present to the future, the debate shifted from how to best to manage the present to who will run the society of the future. The great ideological conflicts of the 20th century were all about who will impose their vision of their future.

We see the same debates in this age. Immigration is about the demographics of future Western society. The antiwhites explicitly state that they wish to overthrow current society, which they call white supremacy, in favor of some new society organized around serving nonwhites. The legacy populations of the West are told by the people at the World Economic Forum that they are on the wrong side of history. Our debates about the future are all about who, not what.

All of this suggests that the futurist is a grim reaper. His arrival precedes some horrible conflagration that obliterates the present. A century ago, the futurists gave us two great industrial wars that reduce the West to ruins. The futurists of this age seem to be obsessed with war and famine. On the one hand they are instigating wars between the great powers. On the other hand, they are attacking the food supply. We will be lucky to live to see whatever futures results from all of this.


If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


The Lying Game

Note: If you are familiar with Moldbug, who now calls himself Curtis Yarvin, I did a review of and comment upon his work behind the green door. Here is the SubscribeStar link and here is the Substack link.


At first blush, logic says that deception should have been bred out of humans long before humans settled down. Deceiving the tribe would be bad for the deceiver, resulting in exile or even death. That would significantly lower the reproductive success of the deceiver. On the other hand, tribes with deceivers would be less cooperative which would lower their overall success. Given enough time, it seems like deception should have disappeared from humanity.

Clearly that is not the case. We have lots of liars. That means deception has some useful role in human society. At the minimum, deception is not so negative that it would significantly lower the reproductive success of the deceiver. In fact, deception has probably always been an asset on the mating market. Even in the narrow world of the tribe, sweettalking Pebbles into a roll in the cave has obvious benefits. Perhaps lying for sex is enough to make deception a feature of man.

On the other hand, every society has prohibitions against deception. In European cultures, reputation is tied to honesty and trustworthiness. Someone who gains a reputation for deception loses status. In more clannish societies, deceiving outsiders is not so bad, especially if it helps the in-group, but lying to people in the clan can have severe consequences. Someone who deceives his own people can be exiled from the group or possibly worse.

This apparent contradiction has been known for a long time. It is not just humans who display the willingness to deceive others in the group. In many animal societies, like bees and ants, cooperation is rewarded and deception is punished. As with humans, deception should have been selected out a long time ago, but that is clearly not the case which suggest deception has some value. The deceiver gets enough benefit over time to make deception useful in some way.

A new study suggests that cooperation is what makes deception possible, as cooperation involved complex rules. An individual can exploit those rules to gain benefit without having to contribute. The more cooperative a society, the more opportunities there are for free riders to game those rules through deception in order to prosper from the cooperation of others in the group. The less cooperative a society, the fewer opportunities to exploit the rules through deception.

Given that we live in an age of universal deceit, at least by those in positions of authority, the evolution of lying suddenly matters a great deal. Part of it is that we are better able to see the lying of the people in charge. Before the mass media age, it was hard for people to get information on official lies. Of course, it was also much harder to promote official lies. Mass media results in a sense of mass cooperation, which means the communications revolution has revolutionized mass lying.

Even adjusting for our natural recency bias, institutional lying has exploded over the last thirty years in America. Every day someone from the government stands in front of cameras and blatantly lies about things. They know they are lying. The people in the press room know they are lying. Everyone in the room knows that the people watching it know everyone involved is lying. There is the sense that the people in these positions look at lying as a game where the biggest liar wins the day.

This is not a new thing. For twenty years the drug companies have said that serotonin levels are responsible for depression. It turns out to be wrong and the studies they relied upon were obviously wrong. In other words, they should have known their claims were false, but they had a billion reasons to lie, so they lied. This sort of deception has become the norm. Here is a story about a prominent cancer research facility caught faking their research.

Of course, we are still living through one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on human society, which is the Covid pandemic. The virus is real, but the claims around it have been nonsense since the start. Mask wearing and social distancing never had any basis in science or reason. Important people not only insisted it was science but forced people to play along. Now we are learning that the vaccines are not what was claimed and may have made things worse.

Many people have noticed the scale and degree of lying from official quarters, but the assumption is always that the cause is degeneracy. That is the people slithering into positions of authority are responsible for the rise in deception. The solution is to round them up, put them on boats and send them out to sea. Put honest people back into positions of authority and we return to the normal levels of deception. That may be just as wrong as the things coming from our leaders.

It may be that we have reached a point where the people in the ruling class of society, this includes the managerial and administrative classes, no longer feel any connection to the rest of us. They lie and willingly repeat lies, because it causes no harm to them and solves immediate concerns. Like people in clannish societies, deceiving outsiders brings no penalty as outsiders simply do not count. The ruling class is now an alien clan that is indifferent to the rest of us.

Alternatively, this evolving class awareness may bring with it a sense that the people over whom they rule are a constant threat. Like the Alawites in Syria, the new class at the top of the social hierarchy now sees their position dependent on keeping the masses confused and disorganized. Israel has always done this with her Arab neighbors, preventing them from uniting against her. Perhaps the explosion of lying is due to fear and hostility by the ruling class.

Another possibility, suggested by that British study linked above, is that deception tracks with cooperation. The more cooperative a society, or at least the more it appears to cooperate, the more deception in the society. This seems counter intuitive as cooperation is about trust and deception undermines trust. On the other hand, the more people experience deception, the more they are willing to cooperate with those who display trustworthiness. Trust and deception rise and fall together.

An underappreciated aspect of the communications revolution is how unity has become the standard of politics. Fifty years ago, people understood that politics was the art of the possible, which meant compromise. You give a little to get a little, but often there was no deal to be had and you just accepted it. Today, politics is all about uniting everyone behind a narrow cause. Every day our rulers demand we put aside our interest for something. Mass cooperation is the norm.

These demands for mass cooperation track with the growth of mass media and they track with the rise in anathematizing of dissent. As communications have increased, the demand for cooperation have increased. As cooperation increases, the deception increases with it. Some of the lying is in an effort to trick people into putting their interest aside for the good of the cause. Much of the lying is just opportunism. The greater cooperation has led to an explosion in deception.

The prisoner’s dilemma game is a classic example of how even simple human interactions can become quite complex. Rational self-interest can lead someone into a trap depending upon the rules in which they are forced to operate. This may be what we are seeing with the explosion of lying. The communications revolution has altered the ancient rules of human cooperation within large scale society. The ability to enhance mass cooperation has resulted in mass deception.

Like that prisoner’s dilemma game, the people doing the lying think they are acting in their self-interest but they are actually undermining their collective interests. The more they lie in defense of “our democracy” the less valuable the system that makes it possible for them to be a ruling class. Their efforts to enhance the value of their position in society is undermining their position. Taken to its logical conclusion, the collapse in trust will bring about a collapse in the ruling class.


If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


The End Times

Note: The Monday Taki post is up. Not entirely related to this post. The Covid stuff does tie into the new religion. Sunday Thoughts is up behind the green door. There is the SubscribeStar version and the Substack version.


Many commenters have noted that American political discourse is much coarser and nastier today than it was a generation ago. The change can be dated to the arrival of the Clintons on the national stage in the 1990’s. They brought with them a crudeness that has become the norm in national politics. The great interregnum that lasted from the 1980’s into the 1990’s was replaced with an ugly and vulgar brand of politics that eventually led to the nasty and censorious present.

The question that never gets asked is why has public discourse become so nasty and unforgiving over the last three decades? The time for intolerance was the Cold War when mistakes could mean nuclear war with Russia. Instead, it was a time of relative tolerance compared to the present. Technological and material advances have made the margin for error extremely broad, yet the people seeking to shape public discourse carry on like one misused pronoun will end the world.

There can be no denying that the nastiness and intolerance is coming from the people we call the Left. The so-called conservatives continue to carry on like they are at high tea with the queen. The censorship, cancel culture and the harassment of dissenters all comes from the tribes of the Left. They are the ones trying to ruin people for explicitly stating obvious truths that suddenly run contrary to official dogma. The mobs threatening social order are all left-wing.

The funny thing is, the Left should be riding high, given that they control all of the high ground of American society. If the new fad on the Left is for “birthing people” to wear flowerpots on their heads, every news anchor will either have the flowerpot on her head or state in advance that they are not a person of uterus so they are respecting the culture of the birthing people. The Left has never had more power in American society, yet they have never been angrier.

One reason for the nastiness is left-wing politics has always attracted people who are full of self-loathing and have a resentment toward normal society. This was true in the French Revolution and it is true today. The conformity and identity provided by the hive mentality of radical politics is the appeal. Radical politics is by definition anti-social, so it attracts anti-social people. The phrase “happy go-lucky communist” is not a staple of our language for a reason.

Of course, the cult-like atmosphere of radical politics limits the ways in which a member can get attention. To get noticed by senior members of the hive means being more extreme than the rest of the hive. Without a limiting principle, virtue signaling quickly becomes a race to the most extreme position. This is how we quickly went from finding a legal accommodation to cohabitating homosexuals to a world where the Left demands that child molesters in drag have unlimited access to grammar schools.

Then there is the fact that people into left-wing politics tend to live in isolation from normal people. They may interact with normals at work or in daily life, but their political activity is exclusively around fellow believers. These ideas arise in a world insulated from the daily realty of normal society. The people operating like spiritual masters inside these movements are never challenged or questioned. They are never exposed to scrutiny or forced to defend their positions.

Someone like Robin DiAngelo is never going to sit down for a tough interview by a knowledgeable critic of her ideas. All of the thought leaders and influencers on the Left are like stage psychics in that they only ever allow themselves to be tested under conditions that allow for success. This serves to promote their brand, to use a marketing term, but it also legitimizes their ideas to their followers. DiAngelo always sounds authoritative, which serves to give authority to her ideas.

The counter here is that people on the Right do the same thing but the big difference is the institutions are run by the Left. A normal person cannot go about their life without running into left-wing assertions. Watch a TV show and it is full of propaganda about the latest causes. Ads are mostly for cultural ideas, rather than products. The workplace is littered with warning signs about offending the believers. There is no escaping the cult of progressive beliefs.

People on the Left can avoid almost all counter-programming. Normal people are naturally polite and non-confrontational. As soon as they learn that Sarah from accounting is a woke believer, word goes forth to avoid talking current events with Sarah or her friends. On the other hand, if a normal person dead names Barbara, formerly known as Robert, Sarah and her coevals will be all over the poor guy, demanding he be hurled into the void for intolerance.

This tendency toward politeness has the perverse effect of providing social proof to the people in these subcultures. The guy getting thrown into the void must deserve his fate as no one defends him, thus his crime is validated. On the other hand, the lack of pushback from the people around them, plus the intense loyalty of the people inside the subculture, is daily confirmation. There is no social cost to holding extreme ideas so the incentives to holding them are unchecked.

Compounding this is a poverty of information inside these movements. Since the leaders are never exposed to scrutiny, their ideas are never tested. In an environment of conformity, showing any doubt about the ideas risks a loss of status inside the group, so no one dares question anything. In the rare occasion when the members confront someone who directly challenges their belief, it is as if the person is questioning the very nature of reality. There must be something wrong with them.

This leads to the sort of performative confrontation we saw in the Senate between Josh Hawley and Berkeley Law Professor Khiara Bridges. To normal people, the professor came of as obnoxious and unbalanced. To the people in the subculture, she heroically defended the one true faith against the violent attacks of a bigot. In other words, their brief confrontations with reality are quickly turned into confirmation. The normal feedback loop is warped by their general isolation.

All of this explains the increasing weirdness of the Left and the intensity of belief, but it does not explain the nastiness. Fifty years ago, progressives were just as committed to their agenda as they are today, but back then they were prepared to debate anyone in public on their issues. Today, the Left is trying hard to purge anyone from the public square who is not enthusiastic for their cause. Fifty years ago, the Left said you had to be open minded. Today, an open mind is violence.

The most likely reason for this is the focus of belief has shifted from the material world to the spiritual realm. In the 1980’s, lefty was all about economics. Progressivism was a material cause, not a cultural one. Today, the Left does not care about economics or the material wellbeing of people. In fact, they seem to think the material wellbeing of people is a danger to their cause. The evolving assault on food production in the name of Gaia is looking like the actions of a suicide cult.

There is the key to the nastiness. Radical politics has always had a religious vibe because ideology is a secular replacement for religion. Instead of God providing authority to the beliefs, it is the will of the people or the tides of history. Until this age, ideology was rooted in the material world. The door through which mankind would enter paradise was economic relations. Today, the door is cultural relations. Once all cultural barriers are removed, everyone is free to fulfill their potential.

The old ideology of the Left had a tangible vision. They thought that in the future, a man would be able to fish in the morning, hunt in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening and do critical theory at night. He would be free to live as he chose because his material wellbeing would be secure. The new religion offers an image of the present like a haunted house, in which the monsters are normal people. How can you be a happy warrior when you imagine yourself surrounded by spiritual enemies?

What we may be seeing is the end of ideology. Ideology is a new thing in human history, which means it has a beginning and therefore an end. This great replacement for religion as the set of shared societal beliefs may be in an end phase. The reason it is so nasty and violent is the same reason a trapped animal is nasty and violent. Suicide cults choose death over disbelief. This last ideology is looking to destroy this fallen world rather than give up their beliefs.


If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


The New Right And Old Enemies

From a dissident perspective, the squabbles between the professional conservatives and their critics in what they are calling the New Right is like see something of a proof of dissident critiques of conservatism. Many of the charges levelled at the professional conservatives are borrowed, without attribution, from dissidents. The main charge, that conservatives have conserved nothing, was a mainstay of dissident discussion before Trump arrived to discredit the conservative establishment.

The term “New Right” itself is borrowed from the old alt-right. Back in 2016 when the alt-right was morphing into old school white nationalism, those not interested in going in that direction were labeled the alt-light. Guys like Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobic started calling their thing the New Right as a way to add legitimacy to their activity on social media. Sohrab Ahmari appropriated the term and uses it to describe those criticizing institutional conservatism.

Putting that aside, the back and forth between various groups is useful in understanding what happened with American conservatism. If there is going to be some new force that rises up to challenge the status quo, it will need to avoid the errors made by conservatives in the last century. The debate also provides an avenue for understanding the much larger trends that have led to this point. Ideas matter and it is the ebb and flow of ideas that animates history.

This post in the Claremont publication American Mind by Michael Anton is a good example of how ideas shape actions. Anton is responding to this post by someone calling himself Michael Watson. Those old enough to recall the purging of the paleocons by the National Review crowd will recognize the pattern. Instead of addressing the criticism coming from their right, the conservatives accuse the critics of being anti-Semitic and thus disqualified from the debate.

For his part, Anton responds in the predictable way. He endorses the central claim that any criticism of certain people is off limits, thus his job is to prove that his ideas do not fall into that bucket. The paleos went down this road back in the 1980’s when they insisted that criticizing Israel and Israeli influence in American foreign policy was not an attack on Jews. The neocons were undeterred and paid off enough conservatives, primarily Bill Buckley, to make the charge stick.

For those interested, Bill Buckley produced a special edition of National Review to condemn the paleos. He then turned it into a book. No doubt that American Enterprise, Heritage and other conservative money machines bought skids of the book as a reward for his efforts. Here is a transcript of Buchanan being interviewed on PBS about the charges levelled against him. Thirty years on and we see the same tricks being used by institutional conservatism to guard their right.

Interestingly, Anton makes no mention of the fact that Watson is a member of the neoconservatism cult. He is the associate director of the Center for the Future of Liberal Society at the Hudson Institute. For those interested in the deep state theory of everything, their wiki page is a cornucopia of material. For those interested in anti-Semitism, it reads like something from Kevin MacDonald. It is a good example of how relentless pursuit of group interest can easily look like conspiracy.

Anton has his reasons for avoiding the elephant in the room, but the elephant is at the heart of the debate. Neoconservatism has never made any sense as a subset of Anglo-Conservatism, as its primary focus is international. Conservatism is the elevation of the near over the far, the local over the distant. The singular focus of neoconservatism is the ancient enemies of the Jewish people, both near and far. Given the lack of anti-Semites locally, it is obsessed with distant enemies from the past.

The temptation is to hang all of this on the Jews, but the fact is neoconservatism has become a weird subculture that revolves around the concept of Israel. Many of the biggest neocons are not Jewish. Watson is obviously not Jewish. Bill Buckley was obviously not Jewish. Large swaths of the Evangelical subculture are obsessed with supporting Israel at the expense of everything. Since the Cold War, this subculture has driven conservative politics, right into oblivion.

For this reason, it is easy to see why many on the so-called New Right are loath to take on the neocons. They have a lot of money and they lack a soul. They will say the nastiest things about anyone who crosses them. Taking on a well-heeled collection of sociopaths with institutional power is dangerous. The trouble is, there is no air for a “new right” until the Right is purged of this pestilence. Neoconservatism has to be read out of politics in general, not just right-wing politics.

There are plenty of easy targets in the neocon space. Thirty years ago, neoconservatism was run by smart and clever men. Today it is populated with cranks and crazies who are easy to mock. More important, their schemes have resulted in an evolving economic and political disaster. Pinning the economic war against Russia on the neocons is easy money. The New Right would be wise to borrow a trick from Saul Alinsky and make the neocons own the Ukraine disaster.

Of course, this comes to the other elephant in the room. Conservatism is a business and the neocons have a near lock on the flow of money. They control the billion-dollar think tank racket. They control access to big donors. The reason that First Things continues to publish a nut job like George Weigel is money. His war mongering lunacy and bigotry is out of step with the site, but institutional conservatism likes him so he is tolerated in order to avoid offending the money men.

The golden rule says that the man with the gold makes the rules and that is the problem that any alternative to institutional conservatism faces. Either it accepts poverty as the price for political commitment or it builds a parallel funding mechanism. Whether or not the New Right understands this is unclear. The only way to achieve the latter is to take Alinsky’s advice and focus on the problem, personalize it and then polarize it, forcing people to pick sides, thus neutralizing it.


If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


Managerial Morality

Note: There is a new post up on both Substack and SubscribeStar. It appears there are lots of people on Substack who would never sign up for SubscibeStar and plenty of people on SubscribeStar who have no interest in moving to Substack. Green door content will be posted on both so pick your poison.


In the classic comedy, The Jerk, there is a scene in which the main character, played by Steve Martin, is in court. He is being sued because the invention that made him rich is supposedly causing everyone to go cross-eyed. He invented a thing to go on the bridge of glasses that prevents them from falling forward when you look down. In the scene, Martin looks around and sees that everyone in the court, including the judge and the jury, are cross-eyed like the people suing him.

This is what Elon Musk is going to face in the Delaware Court of Chancery Chancellor when his case against Twitter goes to trial. That assumes it ever gets to a trial, as there is a good chance his lawyers see the writing on the wall long before that point and there is some sort of settlement. The Twitter legal team features a former chief judge from the Delaware Court of Chancery Chancellor. No doubt there are others with connections to the small club that is the Delaware bench.

Like the Steve Martin character in that movie, Musk is about to learn that the laws and procedures do not matter. What matters is who decides. Every judge on the Delaware Court of Chancery Chancellor was put there by a politician. Those politicians were selected for their loyalty to a system that many deny exists. That system is the managerial system that governs America. You do not get into office with a chance to wield real power unless you are trusted by the system.

System is probably not the best word for what we are seeing. It is more like a mindset, a set of shared beliefs. The judge in the Twitter case, Kathaleen McCormick, will look out at the players and see that Musk is not her sort. He is not the type of person she thinks should be a winner in this world. She thinks this because everyone she knows thinks this about Musk. She may not be able to say why she thinks Musk is a threat to our democracy, but she is sure of it.

It was not always this way for Musk. He was once the darling of the managerial class, celebrated in popular culture as a modern day Thomas Edison. He was serving Gaia with his electric cars and hyper loops. His battery plants would magically allow us to stop raping Mother Earth for fossil fuels. His reward would be to one day travel the stars in his rocket ships. Musk was the way to the glorious future. When he spoke out against Twitter, he suddenly transformed into the terrible past.

This is what stumps people about managerialism. There was no official pronouncement from the leader of the managers. The supreme leader of managerialism did not read out a fatwa against Elon Musk. There is not even an anonymous memo circulating that says Musk is now on the proscribed list. It is a thing that just happened. One day, people with power were showering Musk with your money. Then all of a sudden, they all agreed that Musk was a threat to our democracy.

Another example of the managerial mindset is in this story about the law firm that won the recent gun case in the Supreme Court. The two lawyers who won the case were met with a termination letter after their victory. The law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, represents the most important people in the most important matters. There is a revolving door between Kirkland & Ellis and the Department of Justice. Former AG Bill Bar was a Kirkland man, as were many on his team.

Why is Kirkland & Ellis dropping second amendment cases? No one has made an official announcement on the issue. The attorneys who won the gun case stated that they were told the firm was dropping their gun clients. No one came to the partners of Kirkland & Ellis and made them an offer they could not refuse. They simply decided that their conscience could no longer allow them to handle these cases. Then they were celebrated for it by their friends down at the club.

This is the first domino. All of the other big forms will drop second amendment litigation because they will all be struck by the same crisis of conscience. Much the same has happened in the insurance industry. Insurers refused to do business with the National Rifle Association. Many banks have also joined the boycott. Again, there was no memo sent out from the secret lair in the hollowed out volcano. No one is forcing these big players to do this. They just think it is right.

It is one of things the paleos got wrong about managerialism. Perhaps wrong is too strong a word for it. More like they did not anticipate it. Burnham, a former communist, focused on the material aspects. He never addressed the culture of managerialism that was evolving along with the managerial system. Later paleos started to approach this topic, but they never fully embraced the idea that this class that rules over American society has reached class consciousness.

That class consciousness is not simply an awareness of their position with regards to economic and cultural relations. It is a moral community now. To be in the managerial class requires accepting a set of beliefs about what is right and wrong. Good people accept climate change. Bad people are deniers. Good people think guns are bad, while the bad people talk about their second amendment rights. The good people saw Trump as a threat to our democracy. The bad people voted for him.

This is what Musk faces in the Delaware Court of Chancery Chancellor. He may have the facts on his side with regards to the fake accounts. He may have the law on his side with regards to the terms of the deal. He has all the money in the world, which should count for a lot. None of that may matter as the people making the decision have all decided that he is a bad guy. Like every issue for the managerial class, Musk is now a moral signifier. Where you stand on him is where you stand on everything.


If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


Questioning Reality

There is a growing sense that there is a crisis in science, with science being broadly defined to include the soft sciences. The reproducibility crisis, as pointed out by the statistician W. M. Briggs, is close to universal. Across the academy, there is a plague of faulty and fraudulent studies being produced. Worse yet, the systems for controlling fraud seem to be encouraging it. Peer review now means nothing more than politically acceptable in the soft science fields.

Briggs offers one reason for what is happening. He notes that engineering is not having this problem. The reason is the bridge has to actually work as predicted or the engineers suffer a heavy price. Engineering is not science, but it relies upon the sciences to produce practical things. Those practical things must hold up to reality, which controls what comes out of engineering as accepted theory. In other words, everything in engineering gets tested against reality.

The academy, on the other hand, never has to face reality this way. Even in the hard sciences, reality avoidance is common. Theoretical physics has entered a world that is beyond the ability to test. Math is still math, but much of what is done is purely speculative or requires unproven assumptions. In the soft sciences, the rules have collapsed entirely and most of what comes out is narrative framing. The “science” is limited to providing cover for current fads.

Another reason for the crisis in the sciences is modeling. Anyone who has worked with models knows that the model maker can quickly become a god. He creates a model of the world based on what he would like it to be rather than as a reflection of the bit of reality he is trying to understand. Of course, model makers often have a boss who needs to be pleased. That boss could be in a corner office or the boss could be an angry mob of blue-haired harpies patrolling campus.

The point is you can make models do anything. The model maker is like a script writer in that he can make the rules do what he needs to reach his desired end. Bad script writers use clunky plot devices to solve problems for their characters. Bad model makers create a set of rules and data selection methods to close the gap between theory and reality. Since the model will never be tested against reality in the soft sciences, bad model makers can quickly become stars.

Here is where the question of causality comes into play. Is the corruption of the academic domain a symptom of larger societal trends? Has the steady decline of standards in society dragged down the academy or has the corruption of institutions subverted society, including the people in the sciences? Is it simply the natural product of multiculturalism, which needs narratives to hold it together, due to the lack of natural social bonds found in homogenous societies?

You can model this many ways, depending upon how you as the model maker feel about these topics. The last bit is a clue to the problem. The rise of narratives in social discourse tracks with the rise in diversity. Read anything from a century ago and it is free of the narrative structures we find common today. A story about an athlete was mostly the facts about his life. He was not cast as a character in a drama about social justice or the fight against exploitation.

The ubiquity of narratives gets lost in the flood of them. There is a real war going in Europe and the political class speaks of nothing but narratives. They have meetings followed by press conferences to inform the public on the status of their latest narratives and the battle of narratives surrounding the war. Meanwhile, the Russian army slowly grinds down the Ukrainian army. The same can be said of the energy crisis, which is ignored in favor of narratives about climate change.

You get the sense that the people talking about their narratives and messaging, a subset of narrative framing, think that if they get enough people to believe their story, reality will bend to that story. Put another way, if they can model reality with a set of rules and assumption in such a way that only their preferred conclusions are possible, then reality will have no choice but to comply. Like the model makers, the narrative creators have become gods in their creations.

This does not answer the question of causality, but it is clear that the problem of modeling in the sciences has a related problem in the public realm. In elite society, the focus is no longer on the things that are true, like the axioms of mathematics, but rather on the things that are true within the context of accepted rules, like the equity in the distribution of advanced degrees in the sciences. One is true whether you believe it or not, while the other is only true if you accept the assumptions.

A century ago, smart people understood this difference. Models of realty had to account for those things that are axioms of the universe. Over that time a steady shift has gone on where objective reality is excluded from the discussion of the narrative and at the same time, the narrative challenges objective reality. Put another way and getting back to the Briggs post, models are no longer tested against reality, but reality is being tested against the models.

This helps explain why supposedly serious academics sit in front of congressional committees and claim to not know the definition of a woman. They are not simply clinging to fashionable politics. At the heart of it is the claim that reality simply does not comport with the new model of society, so we have to dismiss that bit of reality, in this case biological sex. Just as the model makers can feel like a god, the narrative makers believe they can bring reality to heel.

There is a lot here that deserves further examination, but it is clear that the crisis in science correlates with the crisis in the West. The causality is not clear, but what is clear is that what passes for the smart fraction is no longer willing or able to accept that there are things that are true regardless of opinion. They are questioning the very basics of reality by claiming there is no difference between relations of ideas, their models and narratives, and matters of fact and observable reality.


If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


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The Culture of Deceit

A recent Gallup survey reports that confidence in institutions has fallen to an all time low among Americans. The only institutions trusted by a majority of people are small business, the military and the police. The last two are dropping quickly, which makes sense given the behavior of these institutions. A military full of drag queens and a police force siding with barbarians does not inspire confidence. Faith in small business simply reflects the fact that people continue to trust good people.

The normal reaction from the usual suspects is to blame their favorite bogeymen for the collapse in social trust. They will not use the term “social trust” as that risks entering a forbidden zone, but that is the topic. Trust in institutions is a proxy for social trust, how much people trust the people they do not know in their community. A big driver of the collapse in social trust is a generation of open borders. When your neighborhood is full of strange aliens, it is hard to trust anything or anyone.

As is often the case, the flood of aliens into your neighborhood is a symptom of a much bigger problem that lies at the heart of it. The people in charge simply cannot stop lying, which reflects on the institutions they control. The obvious example is the news media, which is approaching single digits in the Gallup poll. The fact that anyone trusts the media is an argument against universal suffrage. Many people, at least ten percent based on the survey, are too stupid to vote.

Putting that aside, the media has become a torrent of lies. Since the very beginning, the media has been partisan. In colonial times, newspapers were known to be advocates for one faction or another. This is what you should get in a society with a free press, free speech and a culture of debate. The partisans in the media make their case for their cause, often cherry picking the facts that work best for them. This is no different from what happens in a courtroom or a business meeting.

That is a vastly different thing than what we see today. Only a complete idiot trusts anything he reads or hears in the media. The starting assumption is not only that the facts are wrong, but the people behind them know they are wrong. It is not partisan zeal or human error, but a deliberate effort to deceive. The people endlessly going on about disinformation are the primary source of disinformation. They either promote the lies of government or they create their own lies.

This story about the war in the New York Times is a good example. Some version of this story has been floating around since the start of the war. It was cooked up by the usual suspects who have been championing war with Russia. The central claim is they have inside access to Putin’s inner circle is obviously false. His one source is not an independent Russian analysist, but a paid anti-Russian activist. The source makes this clear in his own bio.

The author of the New York Times piece is a notorious liar who runs interference for the neocon cult. Despite being a proven liar, he maintains a spot at the main news site in the empire. Certainly, his bosses know he is an activist and a liar. They keep him on because he tells the lies they like to promote. The point is, they know they are lying, they know we know they are lying, we know they know we know they are lying, but they are still lying. No wonder trust has dropped to zero.

The media is an easy example. They are simply mockingbirds mimicking the sounds from the institutions they allegedly cover. Notice trust in medicine has dropped over the last year, which should surprise no one. They willingly went along with the Covid farce and the vaccine mandates. When people raised reasonable questions about the side effects of the vaccine, Big Medicine was right there to tell the media that those doubters were hooligans and troublemakers.

The fact that those concerns were legitimate and proven correct is a big reason people are now more skeptical of medicine. More important, telling the truth would have served the interest of medicine. Medicine is nothing but trade-offs between the risk of disease and the risks that come with the cure. Chemotherapy is terrible, but it is better than dying from cancer. Instead of being honest about this, they chose to lie which suggests these are people who simply enjoy lying.

No one expects the institutions to be honest all the time. Men are not angels and as long as the institutions are controlled by men, they will have all of the vices that are part of the human condition. What is new in this age is the culture of lying that has taken hold of the managerial class. They seem to take pleasure in lying to the general public, as if it is a status marker. If you cook up some outlandish whopper you get points in the social credit system of the ruling class.

In this regard, it makes sense why they selected Biden for president. In addition to his stupidity, Biden is a notorious liar. A big part of his affable simpleton routine while in the senate was his penchant for telling outlandish whoppers. Of course, he was always the hero of his tall tales. He is a man who has done nothing useful so he made up for it with glorious tales about himself. In a system increasing defined by a culture of deceit, it makes sense to have a notorious liar as the figurehead.

There is a cost to lying. The drop in trust is one consequence. The main cost is that a society low in social trust is harder to maintain than one with high trust. The cost of keeping America together is reaching a tipping point. Then there is the transaction cost of everyday life. In a world where no one trusts anyone, the cost of doing even simple things goes up. A big part of the drop in the standard of living is due to the collapse in social trust due to the constant lying.


If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.